Electric cars: why public charging will cost you more

Electric cars: why public charging will cost you more
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The cost of running an electric car should be lower than the cost of running a similar-sized petrol or diesel car. However, for those who do not have access to off-street parking or workplace charging, it may not work out that way. Public charging prices vary widely and can prove to be expensive.

Let’s take a look at the cost of charging your electric car at home versus out and about – and changes that could take place in the future.

Cost of charging at home

If you are fortunate to be able to charge your electric car at home, then the cost will be relatively low. This will particularly be the case when you compare it to the cost of filling up a petrol or diesel car.

According to Pod Point, charging at home will cost around £9.20 for a full charge. This is based on an average domestic electricity rate of 17p per kWh and a 60kWh electric car.

However, the exact cost of fully charging an electric car will depend on what size car you have. Here are two examples of different sized electric cars and their costs:

  • Nissan LEAF with a 40kWh battery size = £6.12 for a full charge
  • Tesla Model S with a 100kWh battery size = £16.15 for a full charge

Cost of public charging

As the world of electric cars is still relatively new, so is the infrastructure around public charging. Currently, there are different public charging networks that all have their own payment and operating systems. This can make it confusing.

The good news is that there are some places where you can charge your electric car free of cost. Various businesses and attractions offer free charging. So you could just do your supermarket shop while charging your electric car and pay nothing at all.

However, most of the time, public charging is pricey. In fact, the Transport Committee has said that people must be protected from excessive pricing.

The issue is that for people who don’t have the option to charge at home, the cost of charging their electric car will be tied to the rates set on the public charging network. Rapid and Ultra Rapid chargers may be a quick way to get electricity into your car, but they can be expensive.

According to Zap-Map, to charge a Kia e-Niro with a 64kWh battery at a public rapid charge point would cost you £15.35. This is at a tariff of 30p/kWh and only an 80% charge.

And like fuel prices, public charging prices also vary – which can impact the cost of running your electric car.


  • Shell Recharge: Charging here will cost you 41p per kWh and there is no subscription.
  • char.gy: This is a lamppost charging scheme. Its PAYG tariff is 33p per kWh, but there are subscription options available.
  • Pod Point: One of the cheaper options, Pod Point charges 25p per kWh at its public charge points situated at Lidl stores.
  • BP Pulse: Another reasonably priced option, BP Pulse prices start from 20p per kWh. However, you could save yourself money by opting for a subscription package that offers the best value tariffs in any location for £7.85 per month.

Future changes

As electric cars become more commonplace, it is likely that we will see more uniform pricing across the public charging market. This should help to regulate the cost of running an electric car. There will also be an emphasis on making the charging infrastructure accessible and ensuring that people in rural areas have equal access.

MPs have suggested that property developers should be required to provide public charging points. They also feel councils should focus on making sure charging infrastructure is built.

But for the moment, electric car owners are stuck with the options available. And in order to keep the cost of running an electric car down, home charging is likely to remain the preferred option for the immediate future.

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